ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – It’s the newest bridge in Albuquerque and definitely one of the most visible but that expensive city art project is not working out so well.
The lights cost more than $300,000 and are supposed to last more than two decades but tons of the blue lamps blanketing the bridge are off, all less than a year after going up.
It still has a lot of blue glow to it, but it’s obvious driving by that the splash of color on the Bear Canyon Arroyo Pedestrian Bridge is mixed with patches of darkness.
“Some of the light fixtures have malfunctioned,” said Sherri Brueggemann, manager of the city of Albuquerque’s Public Art program.
The project went live last May with several dozen lights lining the bridge, creating the artist’s effect of blue water. The city spent $327,000 of public art funding on the project. However, today, the city says more than two dozen of the long lasting blue LED lamps on the bridge are on the fritz.
“The LED lights themselves are supposed to last a good 20 years and we’re not finding any problem with the LED lights it’s more a matter of the connectors,” said Brueggemann.
The city says it’s not sure exactly what went wrong, but they say they’ve narrowed it down to two problems.
“Due to some very extreme weather conditions that we experienced last summer, at the end of July, or whether or not they’re a mechanical malfunction,” said Brueggemann.
But it’s another problem for the $5 million pedestrian bridge that was finished almost a year late because the lights weren’t ready, among other reasons.
“It was supposed to be done in July of 2012,” Melissa Lozoya of the city of Albuquerque told News 13 in December 2012.
While the bridge is still open, the patchy look is something the city didn’t expect.
The lights are now being sent off for repair, but the city’s public art program says it’s not worried about the project in the long-run.
“The public art program is in the business of commissioning things that have never been done before so we’re very optimistic that this is just a little technical glitch, that needs to be repaired,” said Brueggemann.
The city says it should know within the next few weeks if the burnt out lights are because of bad manufacturing or an electrical wiring problem. At this point, all of the work is under warranty so the repairs won’t cost the city anything.
The city hopes the lights will all be back on in the spring.